The trip to Israel in January 2014 by the Director of INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) led to protests by two trade unions (CGT-INRA, March 26 ; SUD recherche, April 10) and by AURDIP (the Association of Academics for the Respect of International Law in Palestine , on April 30).
CGT representatives spoke up during the meetings of the Scientific Council on May 22 and on September 25 (see below). Following the latter intervention, the Director announced to the Scientific Council that he would ask for the suspension of the licensing agreements ENTAV‐INRA® for grapevines, that had been signed in 2008 with the Golan Heights Winery, located in an Israeli settlement in the occupied Golan in Syria. The Council approved the motion copied below practically unanimously.
Motion of the Scientific Council of INRA on relations with Israel
Declaration of CGT representatives to the Scientific Council of INRA on relations with Israel
Motion of the Scientific Council of INRA adopted Thursday September 25, 2014
The National Scientific Council of INRA supports INRA’s call for the suspension of the licensing agreements ENTAV‐INRA® for grapevines, signed in 2008 with the Golan Heights Winery, located in an Israeli settlement in the occupied Golan in Syria. Ongoing and future cooperation with Israeli partners must be examined with the greatest vigilance in view of the EU directives of July 2013 and the recent statement by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (June 24, 2014) recommending against corporate investment in the settlements.
Present : 18 (of whom 2 did not participate in the vote)
Results : 1 abstention, 14 in favor, 1 opposed.
Declaration of CGT representatives to the Scientific Council of INRA on relations with Israel, September 25, 2014
The discussion preceding the vote on the motion took place following a declaration read by CGT representatives to the Scientific Council of INRA on September 25-26 2014, during the discussion of news items :
"Since June 2014, the Israeli army has massacred more than 2100 inhabitants of Gaza, wounded nearly 11000 others, and has caused massive destruction to the infrastructure of this city of 1.8 million inhabitants that has been subjected to an inhuman blockade for the last eight years, and is in a state of chronic humanitarian catastrophe.
"More recently, on August 30 Israel announced the confiscation of 400 hectares of land in the West Bank.
"The passivity or the complicity of the great powers has led numerous citizens to participate in a growing boycott movement, including an academic boycott, in order to press for the application of international law in Palestine. In this dramatic context, we can only find it disturbing that INRA seems to want to develop collaborative projects with the State of Israel and its universities, following the visit by F. Houllier to Israel in early 2014, as well as the implementation of European projects like Whealbi. The two Israeli partners of Whealbi in fact actively supported the massacres of the summer of 2014 (see the websites * and **), which raises even more forcefully the question of whether it is appropriate for INRA to collaborate with them.
"Moreover, in January 2014, the Israeli government approved an agricultural development plan on 14000 hectares of Syrian land. According to the human rights group Al-Marsad, « the proposed agricultural expansion will only benefit the Jewish settlers in the occupied Golan and will marginalize … further the native Syrians. »
"Regarding this illegal policy of settling the Syrian Golan, we recall the licensing agreements ENTAV‐INRA® for grapevines, signed in 2008 with the Golan Heights Winery located in an Israeli settlement in the occupied Golan.
"This means that INRA already has one partnership that encourages Israeli corporations located in the settlements. The new cooperative programs can only aggravate the problem, in view of the EU directives of July 2013 and the recent statement by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (June 24, 2014) recommending against corporate investment in the settlements.
What does INRA intend to do to address these various questions, in order not to be complicit in war crimes and Israeli settlement, which destabilize the region and which contribute every day to the destruction of Palestinian agriculture and control of their food resources ? Can we support research institutions whose discoveries, and whose potential applications, can only intensify regional imbalances and tension ? Can INRA accept royalties on licenses granted to settlements that are illegal under international law ?
* See, for example, the following article, which discusses the universities of Haifa and Jerusalem, the two partners of INRA-Whealbi : “Warrior students” : How Israeli universities are supporting war crimes in Gaza, by Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 08/18/2014.
** Leaders of various sectors of the Hebrew University community — students, faculty, and staff — were actively supporting the massacre in Gaza. Here is what one could read on the university website of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (July 2014) :
Hebrew University workers and students enlist to help the front
In the coming two days we will collect products for the soldiers on the front according to the demand reported by the IDF units... The main products are : clothing, hygiene products, snacks cigarettes... We have opened collection centers on all four campuses.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Academic Staff Committee
The Students Association
Posted on 02-10-2014